We have reached the halfway mark of the final season of Game of Thrones, and for many, this is the episode we all have been dreading. In the seven seasons the drama series has been on, it has delivered at least one epic battle episode for each season. Each of those episodes leaves us absolutely filled with dread and often gasping for air as we attempt to process what just went down.
The past two episodes have been leading us to this very night, where the White Walkers and their Night King finally have arrived at Winterfell, and all of our favorites are waiting, armed and ready for the fight of their lives.
When the dust settles and the battle (which has been teased to be even bigger than “The Battle of the Bastards”) is done, who will be left standing to go for the Iron Throne? How many favorites will fall at the hands of the Night King and his army?
Grab your box of tissues, a glass of wine and your feels and join us in discussing “The Battle of Winterfell.”
The Deafening Silence: As the episode opens, the troops are marching out, people are filing into the crypts, and everyone’s just waiting. The Unsullied step into place behind the Dothraki while Brienne, Jaime, Pod, Tormund, Beric, Genry, Dolorous Edd and The Hound get into position. Joining last is Sam, who gets chided by Edd for taking his time.
Light Them Up: As the army steadies itself, a rider approaches Winterfell: It’s Melisandre, the Red Woman, who goes right up to Jorah. She asks him if he speaks Dothraki, which he nods yes to.“Tell them to lift their swords.” So he does, and she grabs one and starts reciting a prayer that lights every single one of the weapons ablaze. Afterward, she says, “Valar morghulis,” to Grey Worm as she rides past him and he replies, “Valar dohaeris.” Davos lets her in but she warns him not to bother in killing her as she’ll be dead soon. The Dothraki then start screaming and ride into the darkness, starting the battle.
First Strike Fail: Jon and Daenerys watch the Dothraki make their way to the army of the dead. Jorah is leading the charge with Ghost at his side. The attack doesn’t go well as all of the flames and the army gets snuffed out. Some of the fighters make it back. Dany goes on the attack stance as Jon tries to stop her from leaving but she does anyway.
A Crow Falls: The Unsullied then take a stance with Grey Worm at the lead but they are overwhelmed. Then the wights rush Brienne and her men, who are then saved as the dragons swoop in. The dragons flambe a lot of the undead until a blizzard comes out of nowhere to take them down. Seeing the danger almost at their walls, Arya then tells her sister to get to safety. “Get down to the crypt,” Arya tells Sansa, giving her a weapon that Sansa says she doesn’t know how to use. “Stick ’em with the pointy end,” she says. Shortly after, Sam nearly dies but Dolorous Edd saves him and then gets taken out by a wight a moment later (RIP #1).
Ring Of Fire: Seeing that the battle isn’t going well, Brienne and Tormund give the order to retreat. The soldiers run for Winterfell, with Grey Worm and the Unsullied protecting those who are retreating. Grey Worm orders the trenches lit, so Davos gives a sign to Daenerys who can’t see it because of the blizzard. Arya and her crew try but fail with their arrows to light the trenches. All seems lost until Melisandre comes out and tries to light the trench the same way she did the Dothraki swords. It takes her a minute but then it works as Winterfell is ringed in fire, giving those retreating time to make it inside.
The Little Bear That Could: Back in the godswood, Theon and Bran wait until Bran wargs into a raven and flies out over the battlefield, eventually finding the Night King astride Frozen Viserion. The Night King signals to his army to lay down on the fire so they could cross it, which they do, which leads them to start taking over the wall. Jaime, Jorah, Brienne and the rest do their best to try to keep to the plan, but the army of the dead literally is scaling the walls. Jaime and Brienne are soon fighting back-to-back against the wights. It’s not long before the dead have breached the courtyard, with Arya dispatching them left and right while the Hound freaks out because he’s afraid of fire. Before they can even catch their breath, a giant wight busts into the castle and takes out Lyanna. Undeterred, she picks herself up and charges the undead, who starts crushing her to death. Lyanna manages to stick some dragonglass into his eye, ending him, but also dies in the process (RIP #2).
A Close Call With A Pep Talk: The wights almost get the best of Winterfell’s little assassin Arya when she’s thrown into a wall, but she manages to survive a scrabble off a nearby roof and find her way to relative safety inside. Soon, though, she’s trapped in a small area with a handful of wights. She silently evades their notice but then wights bust into the room where she is, entering from two different directions until she’s surrounded. Beric and his flaming sword and The Hound save Arya. Unfortunately, Beric dies, which is apparently his purpose as Melisandre points out to them when they end up in the room she’s hiding in also (RIP #3). Arya remembers her and remembers that she said they’d meet again, and that she’d “shut many eyes.” Melisandre reminds her “Brown eyes, green eyes… and blue eyes.” Then she asks Arya, “What do we say to the god of death?” “Not today,” responds Arya (cue my cheers).
I Like The Way It Burns: Elsewhere, Viserion and the Night King go dragon-to-dragon with Jon and Rhaegal, leading the Night King to fall off his mount. Daenerys joins in while still on Drogon’s back and in a position to roast the Night King. Drogon does his thing… but the Night King survives it. Jon runs up behind him. The Night King, in return, reanimates every single person who was killed in the past hour and also the dead in the crypts, who start attacking Sansa and Tyrion. Jon finds himself totally surrounded as Daenerys and Drogon come to his rescue. As Jon runs toward the castle, the remaining wights attack Drogon. She falls off his back when Jorah shows up to save her as the pair start fighting off the dead.
A Hero’s Death: Jon makes it to the courtyard, while Bran is still all white-eyed in the godswood as Theon and his men are losing the fight. The Night King makes his way to where Theon has taken out every single threat to Bran. “Theon, you’re a good man. Thank you,” Bran says, having come out of his warg state. Theon, who knows he’s going to die, readies his spear and runs at the Night King, who quickly dispatches him and sends Theon to meet his maker (RIP #4).
The Strongest Avenger Of All: The Night King then walks right up to Bran, who turns to look him in the face. Just as The Night King is grabbing his sword to kill Bran, he is caught off-guard by Arya, who comes out of nowhere to kill him. The Night King grabs Arya by the throat to stop her but she is too quick for him and stabs him with the dagger that was meant to kill Bran back in season 1. And with that, the army of the dead falls and crumbles.
A Last Goodbye: Outside the castle walls, Daenerys holds Jorah as he dies in her arms as one of dragons lands behind her and gives both of them the dragon version of a hug (RIP #5). As for Melisandre, she exits Winterfell. As she walks, she removes her necklace, transforming into the old woman we saw seasons ago, which leads to her collapsing and dying (RIP #6).
Check out the promo for next week’s episode below!